NV Pascal Ponson Brut Champagne Premier Cru
Maxime Ponson’s Champagne will be quick to rise through the ranks of the ‘this bottle is only how much’ Champagne category. This grower Champagne from Premier Cru fruit in the Montagne-des-Reims is a classic example of quality, hand-crafted, brut Champagne
Organic and biodynamic farming practices, native yeast fermentation, no fining or filtering, vegan-friendly and only 500 cases produced.
Out of stock
For five generations the Ponson family has been working vines and producing wine in the Montagne des Reims, primarily in the Petite Montagne sub-appellation, one of Champagnes largest homes of Pinot Meunier plantings. The domaine is currently under the lead of Maxime Ponson along with his younger brother, Camille. Maxime returned to the family estate, Pascal Ponson, in 2011 to work alongside his father Pascal.
In 2018 after a celebratory dinner Pascal went to bed and sadly never woke up, he was 59. Maxime was prematurely handed the reins of the estate and went straight to work continuing what he and his father had begun working on in the few short years they had worked together. Maxime’s brother, Camille, also joined the family business in 2018. They now jointly run the Pascal Ponson estate.
During Maxime’s time with his father he was constantly pressuring to convert their family holdings to organic viticulture. Though reluctant to the idea, Pascal allowed Maxime to convert about 1 hectare of vines to organics as a tester plot. Maxime proved the experiment to be a success and bottled the wine from this plot under the “La Petite Ponson” cuvée labeled simply under Ponson, as opposed to the domaine name of Pascal Ponson.
Maxime & Camille farm about 13.5 hectares of vines spread out between seven different Premier Cru communes across the Montagne-des-Reims, exclusively in the Petite Montagne sub-appellation located just south-west of Reims. The majority of their vineyards are planted to Pinot Meunier, around 70%, the remaining 30% is planted to equal parts Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. They hold parcels in Vrigny, Coulummes-la-Montagne, Pargny-lès-Reims, Jouy-lès-Reims, Ville-Dommange, Sacy & Ecueil.
The soils of the Petite Montagne are primarily chalky subsoils with a unique mix of clay, limestone and sandy topsoils making it ideal territory for Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. A large majority of Maximes plots lie in the mid-slope and have a nice balanced mix of sand & chalk with roughly 5o cm of topsoil.
After Maxime proved that not only organic viticulture was possbile but that it would render a higher quality of fruit and therefore a better wine his father began implementing the practices that his son wanted him to do so badly. Firstly by eliminating chemical herbicides and pesticide treatments in the rest of the family vineyards. At the time of Pascal’s death all of the domaine vineyards had begun the conversion to the become certified organic. Maxime has also implemented biodynamic practices in the vineyards, although he is not interested in being certified biodynamic.
Maxime, like many naturally minded winemakers, adopts the mindset of doing as little as possible to the wines. Realistically this means that the wines are never tinkered with, no synthetics or additives are used in the processes in the cellar. Everything is cleaned only with hot water and the only addition that is used is small amounts of SO2, typically less than 30 ppm, which generally occurs at crush, if at all.
Most fermentations occur naturally and without assistance but in the rare case that one does need help he employs a native yeast pied de cuve that he creates from yeasts found in his vineyards at the beginning of harvest. There are no fining agents or filtrations performed on any of the wines, and he does not use temperature controlled tanks in the cellar. Malolactic is never block, nor is it encouraged, so depending on the vintage the wines may go through varying degrees of malolactic fermentation.